Putin’s DNA equals that of the cold war Soviet Union leadership and especially KGB; not surprising since he still is, in essence, a KGB officer through and through. This DNA can be described as follows: jailing, torturing, and killing any number of people – any number, any age and gender, any nationality including Russian – is always justified, in case it is necessary to secure the continued glory for Russia. Today, this translates to re-establishing and then improving on the Soviet Union of the past and – by doing that – destroying the democratic rule in as many countries as possible. Obviously, the countries bordering to the present day Russia will be hit first and hardest.
Russia’s huge scale attack on Ukraine has resulted in an outcry from many other countries and also in increased sanctions. All of this was, of course, not a surprise to Kreml – on the contrary. Sanctions do not have a major effect on Putin’s aggression and they will not halt his plans to build a brand new Great Soviet Union. Negotiations are to Putin never a possibility to create a peaceful solution to a conflict; instead they are a strategic move aiming to intimidate those on the other side of the table, or just winning time – or both. Putin’s Russia has no respect for anything but brute force.
So, does Putin hate NATO due to the military power and thereby a potential threat to Russia it represents? No, the real reason is that expanding NATO also means spreading the idea of democratic governance. Democracy is the real boogeyman to a completely ruthless authoritarian leader like Vladimir Putin – just like it is to Xi Jinping who can now rest assured that the cost of invading Taiwan would probably be negligible for China.
Ukraine faced the overwhelming Russian military machine alone, just like any European country without the protection of NATO membership will. Who would, just from the kindness of their hearts, be willing to fight and die alongside my native Finland or Sweden, my country for more than 40 years, when 150.000 Russian troops are directed to cross the Nordic borders after Ukraine has been bombed into ruins? The obvious answer is the same as it was for Ukraine: no one.